Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Can Unmukt inspire Silicon Valley Strikers to clinch Minor League Cricket title?. Strikers will be buoyant after Unmukt Chand's momentous innings of 132 off 69 balls in a high voltage quarterfinal game
Strikers will be buoyant after Unmukt Chand's momentous innings of 132 off 69 balls in a high voltage quarterfinal game
First Semi Final: Empire State Titans vs New Jersey Stallions
The Titans will meet the Stallions in the first semi final to be played at the Church Street Park in Morrisville. The Titans, upbeat from beating the formidable Atlanta Fire 2-1 in the best of 3 conference semifinals, will believe to outclass the Stallions with superior batting riches in their ranks. Former Guyana Amazon Warriors batsman Trevon Griffith has been prolific at the top of the order over 500 runs in 17 innings while much will rest on the shoulders of another 500-run club member and former Westindies all-rounder Christopher Barnwell. Barnwell along with Bhaskar Yadram with the strike rates of 157 and 142 respectively, have been the in-form, impact players for Titans, adept at changing the complexion of the game within minutes.
The pair also man the death overs with the ball for the Titans. Employing some astute variations, Yadram famously defended 11 off the final over Atlanta Fire to bag an important victory for the Titans. Titans also have the luxury of fielding two quality spinners in former Jamaica leg spinner Damion Jacobs and Trinson Carmichael. With 31 scalps in 17 games, Jacobs will lead the Titans' defence with his immaculate wrist spin.
The Stallions however have held the bragging rights over the Titans this season. The Stallions ambushed the Titans in a low scoring encounter by 27 runs while prevailing over them yet again by the tiniest of margins of 2 runs in the second game. The addition of Westindies allrounder Rovman Powell will serve as a timely fillip to Stallions' batting arsenal. In only 4 games into his stint with the Stallions, Powell has already played two blistering knocks of 61 off 37 and 71 off 38, while going on to hit 11 sixes in a total of 112 balls faced.
Teenage prodigy Saiteja Mukkamalla and USA batsman Dominique Rikhi will form the bulwark of Stallion's batting at the top of the order. The pair have been able to secure consistent starts throughout the Stallions campaign but have failed to carry on and convert them into a longer innings barring a couple of half centuries from Mukkamalla. Stallions would hope to tame the Titans' batting firepower with their pace battery spearheaded by USA fast bowler Jasdeep Singh along with former SA U19 Justin Dill and the young left arm pacer Stephen Wiig. The Stallions would take heart from the fact they have restricted the opposing team to under 120 in eight outings out of a total 17 games. Young Wiig tops the bowling charts for the Stallions with 26 wickets in 16 games.
Second Semi Final: Silicon Valley Strikers vs Golden State Grizzlies
Strikers will be buoyant after Unmukt Chand's momentous innings of 132 off 69 balls in a high voltage quarterfinal game. In the heart wrenching contest Chand freakishly scored an unbeaten 132 out of a successful chase of 185. The Strikers however aren't a legion of one. They have a well-experienced international cricketing stardust in their roster with the likes of former Windies batsman Narsingh Deonarine and former Sri Lanka all-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya. The Strikers have been carried by seasoned players like at crucial junctures of their campaigns. Jayasuriya stood tall (78 off 51) among a middle order muddle in the first of the best of 3 quarterfinals to propel the Strikers 174 with a late push from Gary Graham (37 off 19). The 39-year-old Graham played a similar hand in the Striker's final do or die league stage encounter to help book them a playoff berth.
Saurabh Netravalkar is a force to reckon with the new ball in hand. Back from USA duty along with the young fast bowler Abhishek Paradkar, the Strikers attack seems potent enough to make some early inroads in the Grizzlies batting order that includes the likes of their batting lynchpin former Pakistan opener Sami Aslam, Zia Shehzad and the explosive Hammad Azam.
The Strikers have held sway over the Grizzlies twice in as many matches this season. Aslam, who's made runs by the windfall (477 runs) this season has a strike rate (111) slightly on the slower side but his pedigree with the bat and experience at the highest level make him a match winner on his day on any surface. The Grizzlies X factor will be Hammad Azam. Hardly anyone has hit the cricket ball as ferociously and consistently out of the park like Azam this season. He has drilled every 6th ball that he has faced over the ropes effortlessly, with his six tally now being at 32.
Veteran fast bowler Neeraj Goel saved his best for the quarter final clash against the Austin Athletics. Goel returned match winning figures of 4 for 24 as the Grizzlies defended 174 by just 11 runs. Young left arm spinner Vatsal Vaghela (29 wickets) who's been ever so frugal with the ball now has a definite shot to be the highest wicket taker of the season, only 2 behind Titan's Damion Jacobs.